Triple chocolate tiramisu

ImageMany, many years ago, whilst I was working for Liverpool University, I had the good fortune to work with a lovely lady called Mariana Catapano. Mariana was living in student accommodation whilst on sabbatical with us but unfortunately didn’t have a television in her room. As an avid football fan who never missed a match, this was a fate worse than death. Consequently she would often come to my house for her tea and to watch the footie. Her contribution to the meal was a homemade tiramisu.

Now. Mariana told me that this was her grandmother’s recipe and that truly authentic tiramisu does not contain alcohol. Hey, she is Italian so I’m not going to argue with her!


I have been making Mariana’s tiramisu for the past 20 years and have never had a complaint. Not everyone likes coffee flavoured desserts, however. I’m sure if I tried to give it to my sister she would think I was trying to poison her! As a consequence and because I have a friend coming for tea who is in need of a bit of cheering up (tiramisu actually means “pick you up”), I have had a play with the recipe and come up with this coffee free alternative.


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites, whisked to a stiff peak
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 standard tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 300 ml hot chocolate or chocolate milkshake, warm
  • 1 pack of sponge fingers
  • 300g grated chocolate
  • 4 – 5 tbs cocoa


  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in the mascarpone
  3. Fold the whisked egg whites into custard.
  4. Dip the sponge fingers into the hot chocolate and allow to soak up a little of the liquid then layer into a glass bowl.
  5. Pour over a layer of the custard
  6. Sift a little of the cocoa over the custard and then sprinkle over a layer of grated chocolate
  7. Repeat the layers until you have used up all the ingredients, making sure to finish on the cocoa and grated chocolate layer.
  8. Pop it in the fridge and chill for 3-4 hours or ideally overnight.

Obviously this recipe does contain raw eggs so should not be given to pregnant women, the elderly or infirm and the very young.